Monday, 16 March 2020 02:03

Global parcel delivery market revenues surge towards US$665 billion by 2023

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The rise in e-commerce is fuelling rapid growth in parcel delivery volumes, with the global market expected to grow to US$665 billion by 2023, according to a new report from global technology research firm Lux.

Consumers are increasingly expecting parcels to be delivered quickly, according to Lux which says the demand is driving companies to explore using automated delivery technologies to cover “the last leg of the delivery journey”.

And Lux predicts that automated last-mile deliveries alone will generate up to US$48.4 billion in revenue by 2030, even though automated deliveries will only address 20% of all parcel deliveries.  

Lux forecasts that the market for parcel delivery will grow from a total of 107 billion parcels delivered in 2019, generating US$350 billion in revenue, to 289 billion parcel deliveries in 2030.

“Most of this e-commerce growth is expected to come from Asia because China and India still have a relatively low amount of parcel deliveries per capita,” said Lux Research Senior Analyst Chris Robinson.

According to the report, automated last-mile delivery technologies fall into four key categories: drones, legged robots, wheeled robots, and autonomous vehicles, and of these, autonomous vehicles paired with drones show the most promise - with Lux expecting them to deliver more than 20 billion parcels a year by 2030.

Drones are currently limited to a small delivery radius, but this range can be extended by deploying them from a moving autonomous vehicle , says Lux.

“Drone deliveries will be limited to uncongested rural areas, which have the lowest regulatory barriers to aviation. Wheeled robots are easier to develop than autonomous vehicles but are only feasible on college campuses where the incumbent delivery method is walking or bicycling. These deliveries are expected to account for only 1.5 billion deliveries annually by 2030,” notes Lux.

“Robot-as-a-service business models are emerging in startups developing last-mile automated delivery technologies,” said Lux Research Analyst Josh Kern.

“Large companies that can invest in and develop their own technologies are not expected to use these services, but logistics companies and retailers with no experience in robotics likely will.” 

“Lux Ecommerce companies globally have announced multibillion-dollar supply chain investments aimed at promising faster deliveries. Fulfillment center workflow optimisations, including automated picking and packing solutions, are crucial for shortening delivery times,” says Robinson.

“Today this is mostly manual, but advancements in robotic grippers, machine vision, and collaborative robotics are all improving the ability to automate these tasks. Full automation is likely more than a decade away due to increased complexity and handling of items.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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